Monday, November 07, 2005

School segregation

While eating lunch last month in a teacher's lounge I was shocked to come across a discussion of school segregation. At this school, teachers were talking about some German exchange students who were bewildered at the lack of motivation in their American counterparts.

It was not just an IQ gap (foreign exchange students from any country will likely be smarter and more motivated than their host country's average student) that bewildered them. Apparently in Germany the high school you attend is based off of standardized test scores. Across the board, only highly intelligent and motivated students get into the best high schools, others go to trade schools, or less impressive college prep schools. Thus students in Germany are not all given the same curriculum. Some will have advanced courses of study and some will have very technically specialized courses.

Clearly this is not possible in the United States, for their still exists a black-white education gap (see Freakonimics, Levitt & Dubner, thanks Thomas) and any move to re-segregate would be seen as racially motivated (not to mention the Brown vs. Board of Education hurdle). If it were possible, though, would it even be a good idea? While I support the idea of full inclusion for special education students, there are some students that clearly do not want to be in school, and I would be lying to you if I told you I did not want to take them by the seat of their pants and boot them right out the door.

Recap: school segregation based off of ability, good or bad?